The Unbeliever’s Shorter Catechism of Christianity
A catechism is a question-and-answer learning method. The process is called “catechesis” and for a teacher to employ the process is to catechize a catechumen (student). Our task here is to help unbelievers, both elect and reprobate, to understand Christianity and why they may or may not ever become Christians.
For those unfamiliar with the term “reprobate,” we will work backward from the term “unbeliever.” An unbeliever is one who does not have faith in Jesus Christ because he or she does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. The reason a reprobate unbeliever will never be a believing Christian is because he or she does not belong to Jesus Christ (Jn 10:26).
The Good Shepherd is Jesus (Ps 23; Jn 10), and the sheep of His pasture were given to Him by God the Father (Ps 100:3; Jn 6:37), who predestined these chosen people to be adopted into His family from before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:15, 23; 11:5; Eph 1:4–5; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 13:8; 17:8). Simply put, God the Father did not choose the reprobate (unelect) for adoption (salvation); therefore, Christ did not redeem these people, nor is the Holy Spirit sent to baptize and regenerate them, either.
With these facts in mind, one may inquire why a reprobate would actually read about something he will never be a part of in reality? The answer is that reprobates often misrepresent Christianity, Christ Jesus, and the Bible. Our desire, regardless of whether the unbeliever is elect or reprobate is for them to understand the truth. So, let us begin (Note: all of the questions are designed for the reprobate’s understanding until the end [Questions 19 & 20]).
- Who is God? God is your Creator and your Judge (Gen 1–2; 18:25; Col 1:15; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5).
- Why does God judge me as a reprobate? God judges you for being a guilty sinner (Acts 17:31; Rom 1:18; 3:23; 6:23; Heb 9:27).
- What do I do that gives me the title “sinner”? Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4), and you are a criminal lawbreaker (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12).
- Whose Law am I breaking? God’s Law, as summarized by the Ten Commandments (Ex 20; Dt 5).
- What are the consequences for my breaking God’s Law by sinning? Death is one consequence (Rom 6:23), followed by your appearance at the great white throne of judgment (2 Cor 5:10; Heb 9:27; Rev 20:11), where you will be sentenced to eternal punishment in the fiery hell of the lake of fire (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).
- What if I do not believe these truths found in God’s Word, the Bible? Correct, you do not believe.
- Can you explain why I do not believe the Bible, God’s Word? Yes, you have not been chosen to receive the Word of God (Mt 11:25; Lk 10:21; Jn 1:12–13; 8:47), by which the elect of God receive faith (Rom 10:17).
- So, what exactly am I missing that makes me different from believers in Jesus (Christians)? You do not have the Spirit of Christ (Holy Spirit), for He was not sent by God the Father and God the Son to baptize, seal, regenerate, indwell, lead, sanctify, and fill you (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Rom 8:9). Without the Holy Spirit, you do not have life from God’s Word (Jn 6:63).
- So, why did God make me a reprobate? It is God’s prerogative to do with His creation as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). In your case, God displays many of His glorious attributes that would not be known without someone like you and others who are called “children of the devil” (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10) and “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (Rom 9:22).
- So, God made me to be an object of His wrath? Yes, that is what you are in truth (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7; Rom 1:18; 9:22), and you have earned the perfect justice of God, which is one of those attributes. God is a just Judge (Jn 5:30; Rom 3:4), who judges sinners in perfect righteousness (Rom 2:2, 5; Rev 16:7; 19:2).
- Christians are sinners, too, so why do they enter heaven, while I dwell in the torment of outer darkness, gnashing my teeth, forever? Christians are forgiven of all their sins (Mt 26:28; Eph 1:7), by Jesus (1 Cor 15:3), who loved them and gave Himself over to death on a Roman cross (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25), as a substitute sacrifice for all their sins (Lev 16; Jn 1:29; 1 Pet 2:24). Again, you do not belong to Jesus (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23), so it is evident that He did not purchase you from the slave market of sin with His precious blood (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:6; 16–20; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet 1:19). Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22). Without faith in Jesus, you have no justification before the just Judge (Rom 3:28; 5:1).
- Are you saying I am someone’s slave? Yes, you live in the world, whose god and ruler, Satan, has dominion over his domain of darkness (Jn 12:31; Col 1:13). You are subject to the devil in whose image you have spent your lifetime mimicking.
- What if I do not believe that my spiritual father is the devil? The god of this world, the devil, your abusive father has blinded your mind from believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Jn 8:44; 2 Cor 4:4; 1 Jn 3:10).
- So, what hope do I have? The Bible assures us that you have no hope, in the world, because apart from Christ (Jn 15:5; Eph 2:12), you do not have God, who alone is any man’s hope (Col 1:27).
- So, I might as well live like hell since that is where I am going, right? From the Bible’s assessment of you…you already do live like hell (Gen 6:5; Is 64:6; Jer 17:9; Jn 3:18–19; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12; 8:7; 1 Cor 6:9–11; Eph 2:1–3, 12; Gal 5:19–21).
- Someone once told me that God loves everyone, so He must love me just as I am, right? No (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5; Rom 9:13), God loves those He predestined to be adopted into His family (Eph 1:4–5). Christ loves those given to Him by God the Father and for whom He came into the world to live and to die (Jn 3:16; 6:37; Jn 10:11, 15; 17:2, 6, 24; Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25), that is, the sheep of God’s pasture (Ps 95:7), His bride (Eph 5:25), His church (Mt 16:18), the Israel of God (Is 49:1–6; Gal 6:16). The Holy Spirit has poured out God’s love in the hearts of those elect, redeemed people He baptized into Christ’s church (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; 10:45; Rom 5:5; 1 Cor 12:13).
- Are you judging me to be a reprobate and not elect? Absolutely not…God has already done that before Creation, when He wrote the names of His elect in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8; 17:8).
- So, my name is not in that book? If you are a reprobate, then assuredly your name is not in that book (Ps 9:5).
- I have not believed Jesus died, was buried, was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, was enthroned, reigns, and will return to judge the living and the dead…until now, what should I do? First, do not be afraid. Second, whatever faith in whatever biblical truth you currently have is granted by God’s grace (Phil 1:29). Third, go to a Bible preaching/believing church and meet the pastor after the worship service, in order to explain exactly what you know and currently believe. Ask for help in learning more about Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Christianity.
- Any last thoughts for your catechumen? Yes! If you end up repenting of your sins and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ so as to be saved (Acts 16:31; 17:30), then you were an unbelieving, elect soul and not a reprobate. If you continue on in your sin (1 Tim 5:20), die in your sin (Jn 8:21, 24), then you will know for sure you were a reprobate (Rom 9:22).
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 8, 2022